Record Number of Senate Cosigners for Peace Corps Funding Letter
In a strong show of support for the Peace Corps, a record-tying 37 senators have signed a Dear Colleague Letter requesting appropriators to provide the agency with "robust funding" for fiscal year 2018. Co-led by Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (pictured above), the bipartisan letter noted that the "Peace Corps’ return on investment is profound." Addressed to Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Pat Leahy (D-VT), chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Peace Corps' appropriations subcommittee, the letter ties the previous record of cosigners for the fiscal year 2013 letter, and it comes on the heels of the House letter in March, which also broke records with 175 cosigners. Both letters send a powerful message to appropriators in response to the president's proposed cut of $12 million to the agency.
Republicans Susan Collins (R-ME) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) joined Senator Isakson and 34 of their Democratic colleagues for the letter, which also included signatures from freshmen members Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Margaret Wood Hassan (D-NH), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and one senator who had not previously signed on, Joe Manchin (D-WV). Critically, 11 senators on the appropriations committee, including five who are on the Peace Corps' appropriations subcommittee, signed on.
Scroll to the end of the blog for a full list of cosigners and their Capitol Hill office phone numbers and Twitter handles; in the coming days, please find time to call and tweet thanks to your senator(s) and staff.
Along with the efforts of Senators Feinstein and Isakson and their teams, the letter's overwhelming success is a result of months of advocacy efforts from the Peace Corps community and NPCA's #ProtectPeaceCorps campaign, which kicked off in February and has seen RPCVs and Peace Corps supporters urge Congress' support at district offices, town halls and on Capitol Hill, through letters, postcards, emails, phone calls, letters to the editor and op-eds. The efforts of NPCA's Advocacy Coordinators and affiliate group leaders have been immense.
NPCA President and CEO Glenn Blumhorst said of the success: "Senators Feinstein and Isakson and their incredible staffs once again stepped up to champion the Peace Corps, and we're grateful for the strong commitment of their 36 colleagues from both sides of the aisle. The Peace Corps community's efforts in the past few months, but especially the past two weeks, has impressed me tremendously, but is nothing less than what I've come to expect from a group of people passionate about an experience that transformed their lives. The persistence, patience and persuasion is paying off, and demonstrates once again that there is no substitute for citizen advocacy and the powerful voice of currently-serving and returned Peace Corps volunteers. A huge thank you!"
#ProtectPeaceCorps campaign efforts will need to ramp up throughout the summer as Congress deliberates on a spending bill for fiscal year 2018. Visit NPCA's #ProtectPeaceCorps page and contact your local Advocacy Coordinator to stay up-to-date and help ensure the Peace Corps has the resources it needs to fuel the next generation of American leadership.
#AmericaLeads: NPCA, RPCVs Join USGLC on Capitol Hill
Glenn Blumhorst and NPCA staff joined USGLC for its State Leaders Summit Lobbying Day on Wednesday, June 14. Along with hundreds of USGLC members—including countless RPCVs from the development, diplomacy, military and business worlds—from across the country, Glenn and staff led the Colorado and Missouri delegations to meet with House and Senate offices to discuss the need for $60 billion for the International Affairs Budget (IAB) for fiscal year 2018. The Peace Corps, its partner agencies and programs such as USAID and PEPFAR, and the State Department, home to countless RPCVs, all get funding under the IAB.
Visit NPCA's #ProtectPeaceCorps page and use the click-to-call action to urge your Members of Congress to provide $60 billion for the International Affairs Budget. USGLC has once again generously provided the click-to-call tools, and we've provided the talking points. Call now!
Senate Peace Corps Funding Dear Colleague Cosingers
Feinstein (CA): co-lead: 202-224-3841; @SenFeinstein
Isakson (GA): co-lead: 202-224-3643; @SenatorIsakson
Bennet (CO): 202-224-5852; @SenBennetCO
Blumenthal (CT): 202-224-2823; @SenBlumenthal
Murphy (CT): 202-224-4041; @ChrisMurphyCT
Carper (DE): 202-224-2441; @SenatorCarper
Coons (DE): 202-224-5042; @ChrisCoons
Nelson (FL): 202-224-5274; @SenBillNelson
Hirono (HI): 202-224-6361; @maziehirono
Schatz (HI): 202-224-3934; @senbrianschatz
Duckworth (IL): 202-224-2854; @senduckworth
Markey (MA): 202-224-2742; @senmarkey
Warren (MA): 202-224-4543; @senwarren
Cardin (MD): 202-224-4524; @SenatorCardin
Van Hollen (MD): 202-224-4654; @chrisvanhollen
Collins (ME): 202-224-2523; @SenatorCollins
King (ME): 202-224-5344; @SenAngusKing
Peters (MI): 202-224-6221; @sengarypeters
Stabenow (MI): 202-224-4822; @senstabenow
Franken (MN): 202-224-5641; @senfranken
Klobuchar (MN): 202-224-3244; @amyklobuchar
Tillis (NC): 202-224-6342; @ThomTillis
Hassan (NH): 202-224-3342; @SenatorHassan
Shaheen (NH): 202-224-2841; @SenatorShaheen
Menendez (NJ): 202-224-4744; @senatormenendez
Heinrich (NM): 202-224-5521; @martinheinrich
Gillibrand (NY): 202-224-4451; @SenGillibrand
Brown (OH): 202-224-2315; @SenSherrodBrown
Merkley (OR): 202-224-3753; @SenJeffMerkley
Wyden (OR): 202-224-5244; @RonWyden
Reed (RI): 202-224-4642; @SenJackReed
Whitehouse (RI): 202-224-2921; @SenWhitehouse
Kaine (VA): 202-224-4024; @timkaine
Sanders (I-VT): 202-224-5141; @SenSanders
Cantwell (WA): 202-224-3441; @SenatorCantwell
Baldwin (WI): 202-224-5653; @SenatorBaldwin
Manchin (WV): 202-224-3954; @Sen_JoeManchin